Location: Vysoká ulica 14
Telephone: 07 52927408
Hours: Mon 11:00-2:00, Tue-Thu 11:00-3, Fri 11-5, Sat 18-5, Sun 18-2
English Menu: No
Rating: 4 out of 10
Bratislava cannot exactly boast a plethora of late-night dance clubs. Those determined to get down in the wee hours of the night have only about five options, all of which pretty much fit into two categories:
1) Those featuring teenage girls in hot-pants dancing frantically with gawking males looming nearby.
2) Those dominated by large, short-haired men of suspect repute, the kind of men who go to clubs flaunting cell phones, Mercedes-Benz key-chains and the courage to wear Nike jump-suits on a Saturday night.
Kráter, a restaurant-by-day, club-by-night establishment on Vysoká ullica (an arcing side street off Obchodná ulica) falls into the latter category.
The facility itself makes a good impression initially. Kráter is divided into three levels with the restaurant on the top floor and the late-night club on the lower two. With large, exposed pipes, a sleek, metallic bar, and furniture wrought in simple 90 degree angles, the decor is Bratislava's most ambitious attempt at something, hip, trendy, and ruggedly urban.
Kráter might even have hit the post-modern ambience it seems to have been aiming for were it not for its peppering of contradictions - framed pictures of liquor advertisements, tacky neon lights, and disco ball to name a few. In the end, just like its clientele, the place ends up looking like a misguided attempt at class.
Perhaps the pub designers were told to design something to match the Euro-pop trash that spews out of the large black speakers hanging on the club's walls. For those who like dancing to such music, Kráter has a DJ every day of the week.
On the weekends the place is generally packed, especially on Fridays when patrons come to see the male and female stripteases - performed on glass-floored platforms fixed above the pub levels below. The strippers are the club's only live entertainment besides the occasional live band brave enough to squeeze their gear onto the diminutive stage.
Those who come to Kráter for lunch or dinner might be surprised to find that the food is actually pretty good. The menu offers Slovak standards (bryndzové halušky, fried pork cutlet, šopský šalát) at average Bratislava prices, as well as four pasta dishes and an excellent pizza.
As for drinks, there are all the usual aperitifs and 10 types of wine. Of the two beers on tap (Smädný Mních and Zlatý Bažant), only one is guaranteed on any given day, while bottles of Heineken and Guinness are also available.
But whether eating or drinking, customers must tolerate the attitude of the wait-staff, which varies from inattentive to rude. Like several 'restaurants' in Bratislava, one gets the feeling that ordering something from the wait-staff is a deeply offensive gesture. In addition, little patience is shown for foreigners struggling with their Slovak.
Giving Kráter your custom is not a very pleasant experience. But then again, if you like to drink and dance, it does stay open pretty late.